A pioneering Glasgow radio station is busting myths around sight loss to mark its 20th anniversary.
RNIB Connect Radio broadcasts from a studio off Beith Street in Partick and is staffed by presenters who are blind and partially sighted.
The station was Europe’s first for blind and partially sighted listeners when it started in 2003.
As part of its anniversary celebrations, the station’s presenters are taking on a series of challenges to counter perceptions about what people with sight loss can do.
The first challenge was a lesson in Wing Chun this week on the playing fields at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground in Peel Street.
Other pursuits the team will undertake in the coming weeks include singing, skiing and wrestling.
Wing Chun Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art that Bruce Lee studied as a teenager before becoming better known for karate, and which has become popular in recent years.
RNIB Connect Radio’s content producer Allan Russell, said: “Wing Chun actually lends itself to being better for blind and partially sighted people to pick up, than those with sight.
“This is because it’s very much toe to toe and relies on sensitivity of touch and sighted participants actually have to train themselves not to use their sight as it slows them down.”
In my experience, my blind and partially sighted students actually pick it up quicker and with fewer bad habits.
Wing Chun Instructor Martin Gibbons added: “Having trained several people with sight loss over the years, I believe that a blind or partially sighted person can compete on a level playing field with a sighted individual.
“In my experience, my blind and partially sighted students actually pick it up quicker and with fewer bad habits.”
The award-winning radio station in Partick was established by sight loss charity RNIB to provide news, information and entertainment to blind and partially sighted people.
RNIB Connect Radio serves the whole UK and broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Freeview channel 730, online at rnib.org.uk/connect-radio and on 101 FM in the Glasgow area.
The station is also available via smart devices including apps like Radioplayer or TuneIn or “Alexa, play RNIB Connect Radio”.
RNIB Connect Radio says it provides an important service to a community which can be hard to reach, potentially isolated and is traditionally under-serviced with information and opportunities.
The main studios are based in Glasgow, but the station has satellite studios in Cardiff and London. All the station’s on-air presenters are either blind or visually impaired.
Kris Wallace, RNIB Connect Radio’s Senior Content Manager, said: "The beauty of radio is that’s it’s a very warm medium and invites people to be part of the conversation, so people with sight loss can come together through the radio station to share their experiences, tips, challenges and aspirations.”